Emotional Eating. We all do it. It’s when we are feeling stressed after a hard exam, or angry at our spouse, or when that meeting went better than expected and we deserve the extra giant bowl of ice cream. While coping with emotions through excessive eating or restricted eating is common in our society, it is not a healthy and effective coping skill to deal with our feelings and stressors. It sure is easy to agree with that when you are sitting there reading this, but a lot harder to remember when you are in the pantry fuming, I know.
One of the first steps to acknowledging and combatting emotional eating is Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness when you are eating something enjoyable; truly tasting it, experiencing the texture of it, acknowledging the nourishment it gives your body, will help you practice mindful eating when you are hungry instead of scarfing down empty calories to aid your soul. The next step when you are in that emotional state is to remember that Mindfulness and to Reflect on your thoughts and feelings in that moment. Do you want that extra three slices of cake that you will hate yourself for eating after you do? Stop and think for two minutes about it, if you still want it after that, go for it. Thirdly, this takes practice, just like anything that involves thoughtfulness and self-control. Start small and be patient with yourself. There can be freedom in our eating choices, but it takes Mindfulness, Reflection, and Practice.